I’ve been looking for full time work since this Tinker business I’ve been experimenting with just isn’t paying the bills. I applied to a graphic designer position with a scrapbooking company, and was politely informed that they cater to a “feminine” clientele and that my art isn’t what they are looking for.
OK, sure. I could have made some great products for them, but to each their own.
…it seems to me that steampunk design ethos, something I’m fairly familiar with these days, isn’t exactly “feminine”, but neither is it something below notice.
It’s not even strongly gendered in my experience, with steampunk fans quite happy to embrace things like Girl Genius or Hullabaloo not because of “token girls” but because of interesting and well crafted visuals and characters, some of whom happen to be female. To be sure, there are those who take the Victorian fashion and buttoned-up morality as a sort of challenge, trying to find ways to make it pornographic (which doesn’t intersect largely with scrapbook patrons… I think… but I’m not researching it), but that’s just what the Internet does. For the most part, what I’ve seen of the steampunk ethos and design is very inclusive and relatively nonjudgmental, which is part of the appeal of that “alternate history science fiction” sort of world where imagination is king.
I’m not a woman, but I’m married to a wonderful one, and she doesn’t see my steampunk work like the Tinker products and say “oh, that’s just so… masculine, ewwww”. She appreciates it for its curious blend of precision and ramshackle weirdness.
So, I have to wonder what sort of market there is out there for steampunk designs that can be used in scrapbooking. There’s certainly a “do it yourself” appeal to a lot of steampunk, which doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to prepackaged scrapbooking goods, and there’s always going to be those who heap disdain on any hint of the illiterate masses flirting with mainstream acceptance of their formerly fringe “geek safe zone” (see: “glue a gear on it“). Even so, I instinctively think that dismissing steampunk might be a bit premature, and to consider it beneath the notice of “feminine” clientele is perhaps shortsighted.
To be fair, this company didn’t complain about steampunk explicitly, I’m just ruminating on their feedback. I’m just not sure that “feminine” need equate to this sort of simple thing all the time.
What do you think?